Some of my favorite videos to watch on YouTube are beauty videos. Tutorial, reviews, hauls (in which the vlogger simple shows products he/she bought), I watch them all. But lately, I’ve been seeing an influx of vacation vlogs, and they all look the same: the destination is exotic, it’s a group trip with 10 other beauty vloggers, and products from one particular makeup brand is used exclusively. So what’s happening? A destination influencer vacation.
What’s an influencer? And why are they going on such fabulous vacations all the time? An influencer is a person (usually with a robust social media presence) that has amassed a large following that he or she is able to “influence” with his or her content. There are influencers in almost every category you can think of: fashion, beauty, gaming, family, and many others. With several thousands (to even millions) of people who trust their opinions, influencers have the ability to give a product they love some major exposure and advertisers have taken notice.
Companies like Conrad Hotels (Hilton Worldwide), Dior, and L’oreal pay for bloggers like London-based inthefrow to go on vacations to Paris and the Maldives in exchange for content like these Instagram photos.
There are plenty of pros of using influencers to a company or an advertiser: it’s easy, it’s cheap (compared to traditional spot and other types of paid advertising), it’s easily trackable, and it comes across as authentic. Sending a group of bloggers on a Hawaiian vacation costs a lot less than a Super Bowl ad. Influencers benefit from the extra income that comes in, with some eschewing their “real world” job to become a full-time vlogger/blogger, and their followers continue to get consistent, quality content from their favorite blogger.
But there are also substantial cons. Influencer marketing can come across as unoriginal and lazy (for companies/marketers), since it’s identical (except in money spent most likely)
to a celebrity endorsment, depending on someone else to promote their brand. Influencers, especially if the product pushed doesn’t align with the brand they’ve curated, can be perceived as fake, disingenuous, and deceptive. In 2014, the United Kingdom made it law for bloggers and vloggers to indicate whether their post was endorsed or not (usually by putting “ad” in the title or within the content itself), in an effort to make the influencers’ intentions “clear and upfront with their audience.” Also viewers may start to not trust the influencers’ opinions and stop enjoying their content, so choose to stop watching (the opposite effect companies and influencers want).
But in general, I think that influencer marketing is here to stay. It’s a great way for companies to show off their product in a more natural way, and for small time bloggers to profit off of something they love to do. So @Dior/many other beauty brands – wanna take me to Paris?